Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, chaired a high-level meeting on COVID-19 situation with chief ministers of 11 states and union territories which have reported the maximum number of cases recently.
Noting that the virus is affecting several states as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities at once, PM Modi called for working together to fight the pandemic with collective power, reported the news agency ANI.
The recent development comes after several states in India have flagged concerns over the unprecedented spike in the novel coronavirus cases. This has ultimately increased the demand for medical supplies leading to the healthcare crisis in India.
In the meeting held on Friday, PM Modi recalled the nation’s success over the first wave of the pandemic was due to India’s united efforts and united strategy. He maintained that we will have to address this challenge in the same way.
He assured the Centre’s full support to all the states and in this fight and added that the Ministry of Health is also in touch with the states and is monitoring the situation closely. He further added that the Health Ministry will also issue necessary advice to the states from time to time.
In the last few days, several states have been battling with shortage of oxygen supply in the country. While the Chief Ministers repeatedly urged the centre for the medical supplies, Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Thursday, appointed two senior bureaucrats as nodal officers to ensure smooth movement of tankers and facilitate oxygen supply to city hospitals.
Reflecting upon the current shortage of oxygen supply in the Nation, PM Modi took note of the points raised by the states.
All the concerned departments and ministries of the government are also working together. Industrial oxygen has also been diverted to meet immediate requirements, said PM Modi as reported by the news agency ANI.
PM Modi in his address to the Chief Ministers, urged all states to work together and coordinate with one-another to fulfil requirements relating to medicines and oxygen. He urged the states to check hoarding and black marketing of oxygen and medicines.
Modi said that every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, whether it is meant for any state, is stopped or gets stranded.
Urging the states to set up a high-level co-ordination committee to carry oxygen to different hospitals of the state, he said that this Co-ordination Committee should ensure that as soon as there is allotment of oxygen from the centre, it can deliver oxygen as per requirement in different hospitals of the state immediately.
PM informed the Chief Ministers that yesterday he chaired a meeting on oxygen supply and will be attending one today to discuss all the options for increasing the oxygen supply, said PM Narendra Modi.
He also assured that the central government is working on all possible options to reduce the travel time and turnaround time of oxygen tankers. For this, Railways has started Oxygen Express. Empty Oxygen tankers are also being transported by the Air-Force to reduce one way travel time.
Indian Air Force has joined forces with the states and it is now supporting the fight against Covid virus.
Earlier in the day, a video of IAF air lifting the oxygen tankers also surfaced on the internet and it has reportedly brought in to speed up the oxygen supply as the country facing shortage.
The Prime Minister further mentioned that along with upgrading of resources, we have to focus on testing. He emphasized that widespread testing should be conducted so that people get the facility easily.
In the meeting held through video conferencing on Friday, PM Modi asserted that the vaccination programme should not slow down in this situation.
PM Modi mentioned that India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme and so far, more than 15 crore vaccine doses have been provided free of cost to the states by the Government of India, reported the news agency ANI.
The campaign launched by the Central Government to provide free vaccines for all the citizens will also continue in the same manner, said PM Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, the nation is all set to witness a huge vaccination drive since May 1, 2021. PM Modi added, the vaccine is going to be available to all citizens above 18 years of age. We will also need to work in mission mode to get more and more people vaccinated.
PM Modi expressed his grief on recent incidents of oxygen leakage and fire at hospitals, and said that the administrative staff of the hospital needs to be made more aware about the safety protocols.
Earlier, a presentation was given by Dr VK Paul, which highlighted the preparations being done to counter the new surge of infections. Dr Paul also presented the roadmap for increasing the medical facilities and targeted treatment of patients. He briefed everyone about Boosting of Medical infrastructure, teams and supplies; Clinical Management; Containment; Vaccination & Community engagement, reported the news agency ANI.
During the interaction, Chief Ministers of states briefed the PM about the steps being taken by respective State Governments in the current wave.
They also noted that the directions given by the PM and the road map presented by NITI would help them plan their responses in a better way, reported the news agency ANI.